Gratitude Sunday: Gray Is The Color of Grief

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

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Sunday Haiku
Gray cloud upon gray,
dark under light, color shines
through; illuminate.


Sunday Musings

Do you think in colors? Do you see a color around the idea of or the experience of emotions or days or words or numbers? To those of you to whom this is a new concept, don’t judge me. This experience occurs across a spectrum of people. We won’t put any labels on people who get to have this experience, as labels sometimes give negative connotations to interesting skills. For lack of a better way to describe it, I experience emotions with a sort of aura in vivid living technicolor: happy is bright yellow, contentment is buttery yellow, anger is red, grief is gray, and so on.

If you have lost a loved one you carry grief with you. You may be distanced from it by time, you may smile, you may enjoy your life, but it is in you. Each new loss is more to carry. Some of us adapt better than others. I say adapt because we are forever changed with the change of loss. Can’t be helped.

It doesn’t matter if you even knew the person; grief can still visit you. The death of David Bowie, musician, and a couple short days later, Alan Rickman, actor, has sent me into a gray mood. Grayer still coming just after the holidays which is a gray time for me anyway.

I never met either of these men. Not even close. Both of them lived on an entirely different continent, thousands of miles away from me. Given I am the world’s worst traveler, I never went to them. And if they visited this country, they certainly made no effort to come see me. It is no loss. You don’t need to know/see/be with someone in person to know you love them. Especially artists like musicians and actors whose work is widely available to you and with the experience of a song or a movie being easily repeated.

I met Bowie when I was 15 on a family vacation to California. We usually went camping so this was a really special trip. We stayed in Anaheim at a camper park a block and a half from Disneyland which we visited along with Knott’s Berry Farm, rode a trolley in San Francisco, and camped in the Redwoods on the way home. Dad still got his camping in. In the days of pocket sized transistor radios, before Walkman’s, and MP3’s, and iPods, every chance I got I would change the radio in the truck to a local rock station. Sometimes that was the only reception we got much to Dad’s chagrin.

Bowie’s Changes was getting lots of airtime. I already loved the upbeat folk music of Simon and Garfunkle, the surfer rock of the Beach Boys, the melodic rock of the Beatles, the driving rock of the Rolling Stones, the mystical rock of Led Zeppelin. The radical glam rock of Bowie was simply another dimension of art but the newness of it was like taking a drug: it was invasive, pervasive, addictive. I couldn’t get enough.

I didn’t meet Alan Rickman until the Harry Potter series was filmed. I’d read all the books beginning in about 1999. I read in pictures so I form a picture of a character and I’m often disappointed when the character is cast in a movie. Not so when Severus Snape rose up live on the big screen in 2001. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such excellent casting, unless it’s Maggie Smith as Violet in Downton Abbey. Rickman was on my radar then and I’ve loved him in many roles.

Not knowing these people can make them dearer to your heart. You can love them for their art, their creativity, their passion, their work, and not have to deal with the daily foibles of humanness, like sharing a bathroom, watching them eat, or trying to effectively communicate. As I’ve said my (mental, spiritual) farewells to them, not knowing them personally casts a different shade of gray on my sorrow.

I love the color gray. There are so many shades, so many nuances, gray encompasses all colors in such a wide spectrum from almost white to almost black, and variations of tone when blue, red, or yellow are added to the mix. Gray has beautiful names depending on its hue. I won’t list them here. You can look them up. Go ahead. It’s fun to read color names. The colors of gray you can see represented on a computer are limited, however, by the programming and capabilities of digital representations, so they aren’t the only shades of gray.

The natural world around us treats us to a wider variety of gray colors. Sometimes you can look at the sky or the water and see so many shades of gray there are no names for. Sometimes gray looks as if it is clothing itself in a body when the cloud descends from the foothills or races across the valley. Sometimes gray looks angry when the storm tide of the ocean comes racing at you. Filling my eyes with the natural way of gray helps lighten my mood. The last few days here in the Portland Metro area have been full of gray; I’ve been in a real charcoal, but I’m up to slate today.

Next time you are outside, look at the gray. I mean really look at it. Look at the folds, and corners, and twists that transcend from one shade to another. Note how many shades live side by side. See how they move, coalesce, disappear. Open yourself to gray; lose yourself in the color; become every shade of gray.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – gray. Gray with trees. DSCN8834 Gray with birds. DSCN8856 Gray with pink and blue. DSCN9019 Gray with stones. DSCN9024

Current View – I lived with Arrow (2012, not rated) this week. An American superhero fiction TV series based on a DC comic about a millionaire who survived a shipwreck for five years on an isolated island, the story weaves the hero’s efforts to deal with his family and loved ones upon his return and the horrors of the tortures he survived while shipwrecked. Intense adventure drama with few moments of twisted humor. I’d love to have the ability to move around the city jumping off buildings, bouncing off walls, hiding on the ceiling the way Oliver Queen’s character does.

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Currently Reading –It’s hard to admit you can’t do something, but because I still work full time I find myself unable to keep up with book reviews on my From Me 2 U Book Review page. Thank you to all of you who have visited that page, and what was still is if you care to visit, but it will be old reviews. Since it is the new year I am going to do something different. I already write a few words about the movies I’ve watched. This year I will write a brief sentence each week about the books I am currently reading and not just when I’ve finished the book, more like a weekly comment. We’ll see how this goes.

A Gracious Plenty (1997, fiction) by Sheri Reynolds: occasionally you find a novel that creates an ethereal, electric buzz in your body, from the way the words are put together, the language used, and what is said. A story about a woman who was tragically burned at the age of 4, who maintains the local cemetery, and listens to the Dead who manipulate the weather and workings of the earth, this is one of this books. Naked in the Woods: My Unexpected Years in a Hippie Commune (2015, memoir) by Margaret Grundstein: so far it’s about her drug use and sexual activity, early on though. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (2014, inter-relational psychology) by Judith E. Glaser: how many ways can you say the same thing so you can make a book length treatise? Still determined to finish in case I can find techniques I can use. Yes, concurrently.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Two pool pals and the life guard at my aquatic center when I suffered a cramp in my calf and they helped me get safely on my feet. I haven’t seen three people move so fast in a long time. Feeling very safe knowing there was never any question they would respond as they did.
  • Nature’s gray palette.
  • Electricity and artificial light on gray days.
  • Little improvements like moving a picture and having the glass on it work like a mirror to reflect more light.
  • Having an extra paid day off work because of a federal holiday and the job that enables that.
  • The tax payers who pay for my job.
  • Swiffers and getting a few things cleaned. Entropy and the constant battle.
  • The abundance of stuff, and life, and love I have.
  • Finally finding a place for the last of the Christmas gifts to live, and all the boxes put away.
  • Gaining a little space from some small changes in stuff placement.
  • How sweet and juicy the citrus is this year, (last year, not so much). The clementines and cara cara oranges have been my faves this season.
  • The last of the season’s pears.
  • A triple cream brie found at the same time as some fresh caught crab. On a cracker. Simple. Yum. On a toasted English muffin. Fancier. Yum still.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

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Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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